NATO Enlargement

Didn’t catch this yesterday:

BERLIN — The United States has started an unexpected diplomatic initiative in Europe, urging NATO allies to offer Georgia and Ukraine membership in the alliance without going through a lengthy process and fulfilling a long list of requirements, NATO diplomats said.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has had long telephone conversations with French, German and other senior European envoys, asking them to agree to bypass the formal application process, the diplomats said.

A few of the other Baltic states (naturally) support NATO enlargement, but most European countries including France, Italy, Spain, and Germany oppose the deal, among other things, on account of Russia’s strenuous objections. This sounds right to me. It seems the primary rationale for entry would be adding more ardently pro-US voices to NATO at the cost of seriously — and needlessly — complicating Russian relations. If Georgia entrance had been fast tracked, the U.S. would have been obligated by the terms of NATO membership to offer military assistance against Russia during the spat this summer, which was largely provoked by Georgia.

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